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The long-anticipated dig to unearth a cache of brand-new Spitfires that are believed to be buried in Burma is expected to start on Jan. 12, local press has reported. According to The Irrawaddy, archeologists first will spend about a week studying the site, then the digging can begin. Up to 36 pristine
Spitfires, still in the packing crates they were delivered in near the end of World War II, are expected to be found. David Cundall, who located the burial site, said he has confirmed the airplanes are there by sending a camera through a borehole.
"We went into a crate, you can see an object which resembles a Spitfire," he said.
The British troops buried the airplanes when they left Burma in 1945, Cundall said, because they didn't want to take them home but also didn't want anyone else to use them. The crates were tarred
and placed on massive teak timbers to assist drainage, and a wooden roof was placed over the crates to protect them, Cundall said. The crates are buried about 30 feet deep in an area close to a runway
at Mingaladon Airport in Rangoon. Cundall also has permission to excavate two other sites in Burma. At one of those sites, Cundall said he expects to find up to six crated Mark 8 Spitfires, a rare
variation with only one copy still flying.
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A Fokker 100 jet carrying 71 people for Air Bagan crashed in Burma on Christmas Day, breaking up the aircraft, which was then destroyed by fire, but the loss of life has so far been held at two,
including one on the ground. The aircraft's data recorder has been recovered and details of the accident are still being collected. Early reports, which are likely to change, include one from the
airline stating that the aircraft was flying in heavy fog when it hit electrical wires nearly a mile from its destination at Heho airport as it descended into rice fields. Burma's information ministry
has reportedly said that the pilot mistook a road near for the airport's nearby runway. Quotes from passengers suggest the initial impact was not severe.
One passenger told the Guardian.co.uk, "We felt the first bump, then a few big bumps and then sliding very fast." Another said the landing was like a roller coaster ride. The two fatalities were a
tour guide on the jet and a man who was riding a motorcycle and was presumably struck by the aircraft or debris. Passengers suffered a range of effects including shock, smoke inhalation and burns. The
pilots were observed to have suffered injuries to their faces. One flight attendant said that the crew had the aircraft evacuated within 90 seconds after it came to a stop.
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A six-month-old infant being held in his mother's lap was the only one of nine occupants who died in the crash of a Fairchild Metro 3/23, a twin-turboprop regional airliner, in northern Canada on
Saturday. Aviation rules in both Canada and the U.S. allow parents to hold children younger than two years old in their laps, although separate seats with age-appropriate safety restraints have been
recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. An FAA spokesperson told The Associated Press in 2010
that if separate seats were required, it would be more expensive for families to fly, and if they chose to drive instead, the children would be exposed to a greater risk of accident.
The Fairchild departed from Winnipeg and was approaching the airport at Sanikiluaq, a small island community in Hudson Bay, when it crashed near the end of the runway. The Canadian safety board
said there was blowing snow at the airport at the time of the crash, but it was not yet known if that was a factor in the accident. Several others on board suffered injuries, but none were
life-threatening, according to the Globe and Mail. The flight was operated by Keewatin Air, which schedules three trips a week between Winnipeg and Sanikiluaq. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is
investigating the accident.
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TCM supplier Hartzell Engine Technologies introduces the zero back torque M-Drive starter the best lightweight starter designed to start even the hardest-cranking
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The new Type Club Coalition launched its web portal last week, with the goal to lower the accident rate for operators, owners, and builders of GA aircraft. The portal, hosted by EAA, is designed to make it easier for pilots to learn about known risks associated with their particular aircraft, whether it is a warbird, factory-built, or
amateur-built design. "If the community can work together to eliminate the common mistakes of aircraft operation, type-specific or otherwise, the overall safety of GA will increase substantially," the
group says at the website. The site will continue to develop, with a bigger presence planned to go online in the spring, EAA said.
The creation of the site is another step by EAA in addressing the NTSB's concerns about the safety record in the
experimental aircraft community. "Many type clubs have already worked hard to create very effective training programs and best operating practices for their members," says the new website. "The TCC is
a place where these organizations, as well as individual owners, can come together to further develop these resources." The site lists 19 current members of the coalition, including the Aircraft Kit
Industry Association, EAA, Cessna Pilots Association, RV Flight Safety, and others representing both owners and manufacturers of various aircraft. Tom Turner, executive director of the American
Bonanza Society Air Safety Foundation, has been named chairman of the TCC.
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Small towns in central Florida are taking advantage of their sunny climate and abundant lakes to attract aviation businesses. The town of Tavares recently became the new home for Progressive Aerodyne, the manufacturer of the SeaRey amphibian, and now two other aviation companies have made plans
to locate in nearby towns next year, the Orlando Sentinel reported this week. ItalicoAviationUSA will open a plant in Kissimmee, and Wipaire will open a service center in Leesburg.
ItalicoAviationUSA, a spinoff of EuroALA, will build light sport aircraft at its new facility, expected to open next month. The company plans to invest more than $3.2 million and create 55 new jobs
over the next four years, according to a news release from the city. The workers will build the FX-1 LSA, which is designed to run on auto fuel and sells for about $98,000. According to the Sentinel,
the company also plans to manufacture a four-seat airplane and an electric-powered aircraft. Wipaire, the well-known float manufacturer based in Minnesota, plans to offer aircraft and float
maintenance, avionics repair and installations, aircraft interior refurbishments and float installations as well as installations of select Wipaire modifications at its new Florida service center. The
facility, at the Leesburg airport, is expected to open in February.
A year-end report and forecast from the Aerospace Industries Association is upbeat on the prospects for the general aviation industry in 2013 and beyond. "While the last few years have been a
challenging time for general aviation, including a major bankruptcy [Hawker Beechcraft] in this sector," says the
report (PDF), "the market is still much larger than it was a decade ago, and there are few doubts that
growth will resume as the world economy recovers." Moderate growth is expected for 2013, according to the AIA analysis. The five-year forecast shows that nearly 80 percent of those looking to purchase
GA aircraft between 2013 and 2017 will do so in the latter part of that period, with larger business jets leading sales.
The bigger jets will comprise 40 percent of all GA deliveries over the next 10 years, AIA said, with markets growing in Asia and the Middle East. China could account for 20 percent of all global
business jet deliveries, up from today's 7 percent, by 2020, AIA said. Light and medium business jets face a tougher market, and "remain an area of concern." The key market drivers for the civil
aircraft market in 2013, the report concluded, will continue to be the price of fuel and the health of the domestic and international economies.
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Free traffic and weather information can now be provided to pilots in seven new terminal areas, the FAA Safety Team announced recently. To receive these in-flight services, aircraft must be
equipped to use ADS-B and to display traffic information. The new services are available for Fairbanks, Alaska; Lansing, Mich.; Pasco, Grant City, and Yakima, in Washington; Waterloo, Penn., and
Youngstown, Ohio. More details about the services can be found online. The FAA also said recently it has published
more than 3,000 new WAAS approaches, which make it possible for pilots to fly instrument approaches using GPS.
More than 60,000 aircraft are certified to use WAAS, the FAA said, which means they are capable of using Performance
Based Navigation (PBN), a key component for the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System. The use of PBN frees aircraft from the old "highways in the sky" that are dependent on ground-based
beacons, allowing for more direct and fuel-efficient routes. It also provides options for avoiding bad weather or unexpected air traffic congestion. WAAS first was made operational in
Survivors and families of the victims of Eastern Flight 401 are trying to collect $15,000 for an engraved granite block to serve as a memorial to the 101 people killed when the jet crashed in the
Everglades northwest of Miami on Dec. 29, 1972. The flight took off from JFK with 176 aboard and while approaching Miami the pilots became fixated on an indicator light that had burned out. While
working the problem, the crew failed to notice that the jet's autopilot had been accidentally switched off and the jet slowly descended into the Everglades, breaking apart on impact. Proponents of the
memorial hope to see it placed on the grounds at the Glenn H. Curtiss Mansion and Gardens near Miami International Airport. They also plan to meet, Saturday, at another Everglades crash memorial.
Some 40 survivors and surviving family members are expected to gather Saturday in southwest Miami-Dade County at the ValuJet Flight 592 memorial. That aircraft came down 24 years after and roughly
two miles from the Eastern jet. There were no survivors of the ValuJet crash. Some Eastern Flight 401 survivors spent hours in the water of the swamp before they were found. Surviving flight attendant
Beverly Raposa is credited with singing Christmas carols to comfort surviving passengers until rescuers found the crash site. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, after a ceremony at the
ValuJet memorial, the group plans to gather at the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant near Miami International Airport for a candlelight remembrance.
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Gulfstream ended the year with a brace of accomplishments for its G650 program that set the stage for a busy 2013 in terms of deliveries. The company delivered its first G650 to a U.S. customer
last week. "The first delivery of an aircraft is always an auspicious occasion and this one is especially so. This delivery represents the beginning of a new era in aircraft design and manufacturing
in terms of quality, capabilities, reliability, parts availability and maintenance activities," said Gulfstream President Larry Flynn. "We're thrilled to see the first G650 leave our hangar for a
customer's. Soon the G650 will be a common sight at airports around the world." The company also closed out the year with a couple of important certifications.
As the first revenue G650 was winging its way home, the FAA granted a production certificate to the Savannah plant for the new jet. Almost simultaneously, EASA certified the G650, meaning
deliveries to the 27 member countries can begin immediately. "This is quite an achievement for Gulfstream," said Flynn. The FAA certified it in September. Certifications in other countries are
expected to follow quickly.
A phenomenon known as loss of tailrotor effectiveness may have had something to do with the crash of a Bell 206 in the East River off Manhattan 14 months ago. The NTSB factual report into the crash
(PDF) says an uncommanded right yaw while the pilot was trying to land the aircraft preceded the crash, which killed two of five people on
board. Pilot Paul Dudley told the NTSB the he thought he'd had an engine failure on takeoff and tried to return to the helipad when the uncommanded right yaw occurred. Dudley said he thought the
sudden yaw was the result of tailrotor failure or loss of tailrotor effectiveness and tried to minimize the impact of the helicopter by manipulating the collective. No pre-crash mechanical faults were
found with the aircraft. Although the factual report does not determine cause, the investigators included a detailed description of loss of tailrotor effectiveness.
The FAA issued an advisory circular in 1995 dealing with the phenomenon that appears to match the circumstances in this case. "Any maneuver which requires the pilot to operate in a high-power, low
airspeed environment with a left crosswind or tailwind creates an environment where unanticipated right yaw may occur," it quotes the FAA as warning. Mainstream media has seized on the possibility the
aircraft may have been slightly overweight. The NTSB calculates it might have been 28 pounds heavier than its legal gross of 3,200 pounds.
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On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli contends that spending $170,000 to equip an LSA with dual-redundant glass and an autopilot just to tool across the county for a burger raises an
obvious question: Why not fly these things IFR? This turns out to be a gray area, rules wise, but it can be done if certain sensible limitations are observed.
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If so, the staff of Aviation Consumer would like to know what you think of it. Almost two years ago, Garmin introduced the GTN-series navigators to update its mega-popular GNS products. If
you've been flying behind one, tell us what you think of it by taking this survey. It'll only take five minutes.
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Over 21,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong! GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation.
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Glass panels have become standard in new aircraft, and now that more legacy airplanes are retrofitted with these systems, there's a growing market for backup gyros. That market has
clearly stated a preference: Backup glass units are making inroads. In this AVweb video, Larry Anglisano of Aviation Consumer and Kirk Fryar of Sarasota Avionics give us a tour of the
FK Lightplanes has significant presence in Europe but almost none in the U.S. They'd like to change that with a sporty little aerobatic biplane called the FK-12 Comet. Right now,
it's got a Rotax 912, but it will soon have a fully aerobatic Lycoming AEIO-233, making it one of only a couple of light sports approved for aerobatics and the only biplane. AVweb recently
took a spin in the Comet with Hansen Air Group's Mitch Hansen. Here's a video report.
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